Each week during this season of Survivor, I’ll be ranking the castaways in terms of best chance to win the game. The power rankings for Season 35 will be much more difficult at the start since there are no returning players. I don’t know anything about these people, so I’ve gone through all the bios on CBS.com to try and figure out who might have a good chance and who doesn’t.
Preseason Power Rankings:
1. Ben (Heroes Tribe): I really like this guy’s potential. A former Marine who has dealt with all sorts of people and describes his game as a combination of Russell Hantz, Boston Rob and Joe. He describes himself as “hilarious” with a good social game. Maybe all of that will make him a threat, but it also might help him win.
2. Joe (Healers Tribe): He’s a probation officer but is on the Healers tribe instead of the Heroes. OK then. But anyway, cops have done well recently — Tony, Sarah Lacina, Bret — because they can relate to so many different kinds of people and also understand when others are lying. Joe has a fantastic chance of going very far in this game, based on what I see in his profile.
3. Mike (Healers Tribe): A superfan who has studied the game, Mike doesn’t appear to be much of a physical threat but calls himself “smart, strategic and social.” Those are traits of a Survivor winner, and if he can deliver, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike play a major role in this game.
4. Patrick (Hustlers Tribe): I really like what he is planning to do for his game. Patrick says he has endurance and outdoors skills to go along with being good at bonding with others and making friendships — but won’t look like enough of a physical threat to get voted off early. That could be a very good formula if it works.
5. Cole (Healers Tribe): He’s an outdoorsman who also describes himself as somewhat of a nerd like Spencer. However, this could be a boom or bust pick, because there’s a chance his personality could get annoying based on how he presents himself. If he’s able to get along with people and build an alliance, he could make it to the end.
6. Katrina (Heroes Tribe): The former Olympic swimmer says she’s great at convincing others to support her. She’ll need that skill if she’s going to become a winner based on being a “more outgoing, adventurous Denise.” If she’s able to bond with the physical threats, she’ll have a great shot to go far.
7. Chrissy (Heroes Tribe): It’s tough to tell why this 46-year-old actuary is on the Heroes tribe, but it might work in her favor. She’s traveled to every continent, has degrees from Penn and MIT and describes herself as similar to Tai — except a super competitive overachiever. If she’s as likable as she sounds, she might be able to bond with the other Heroes and make it far in the game or become the first boot from her group.
8. Roark (Healers Tribe): Her bio is pretty quirky and funny, and she seems like the type of person a lot of people would like and get along with. If that’s the case, I could see her playing a big role in a majority alliance. I’m not sure she can win the whole game, though.
9. Ryan (Hustlers Tribe): Most of this guy’s tribe seems to be sort of clueless — at least in their profiles — so I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to this superfan, who says he’s been wanting to play Survivor his entire life. He obviously knows strategy and social game, but he’ll need both of those to make it far since he doesn’t appear to be a physical threat. Also, he compares himself to Todd from Survivor: China — and I don’t even think I remember Todd.
10. JP (Heroes Tribe): This firefighter from Los Angeles compares his game to Jay (from two seasons ago). I don’t see a lot of strategy talk in his bio, and combined with being a physical threat, he might be a candidate to make the merge and then get booted.
11. Ashley (Heroes Tribe): Maybe I’m reaching here, but this lifeguard’s bio comes across as sort of cocky. She describes herself as “impressive,” claims her body can endure more than the average human and says “I am a winner” when comparing herself to Richard Hatch. If she’s going to make it far, she’ll have to tone down that attitude and show some humility on the island.
12. Alan (Heroes Tribe): In his bio, the former NFL player says his gameplay won’t resemble anyone who has come before him. That’s not a good thing, since it’s actually pretty smart to model yourself after those who have been successful before. That statement, in addition to his obvious presence as a physical threat, leads me to believe he can stick around for awhile but won’t come close to making it to the end.
13. Jessica (Healers Tribe): She says she could win a Miss Congeniality award on Survivor if there was such a thing, which is good. But her bio sounds like she’ll be likable and not necessarily strategic — which is a good recipe for making the merge but then failing to move further once it really gets down to game time.
14. Desi (Healers Tribe): After boasting about all her attributes, she concludes her profile by saying she’s “nearly unbeatable.” Groan. How often does the eventual winner of Survivor think that highly of themselves? I would guess that’s not a good sign. She also says she has no problem calling people out when necessary. Good luck with that on the island.
15. Devon (Hustlers Tribe): Though he compares himself to Ozzy and Malcom, this surfer dude seems to be planning on relying on his physical nature too much. In his bio, Devon says “every single immunity challenge is mine.” I hope he’s likable, because if not, he’ll be targeted as soon as people feel safe enough to start going after physical threats.
16. Ali (Hustlers Tribe): This celebrity assistant says she will be a “competition beast” but comes off as a very go-getter, Type A personality. I worry that may result in being one of the people who doesn’t make it to the merge, should that prove to be a turnoff to her tribemates.
17. Lauren (Hustlers Tribe): Geez, this Hustlers tribe is a mess. I like that she’s a fisherman, which is obviously a good trait to have on Survivor and might help her stick around for awhile. But her bio gives no sign she’s a fan of the game, which means she might get eaten alive when it comes to strategy. I don’t see her being able to win in the end.
18. Simone (Hustlers Tribe): Unless she’s joking, I don’t really like much of what she has to say in her bio. She compares herself to judging people like Michaela, says one reason she’ll win is because she has “good luck” and says one of her hobbies is “complaining.” Maybe that’s all just part of her sense of humor, but if not? She might be the first one out.